Hugo Bastidas is a painter born in Quito, Ecuador, where he lived until 1960, when he moved with his family to the United States. He received a B.F.A. from Rutgers University in Newark, NJ and M.F.A. from Hunter College in New York. He currently lives and works in New York and New Jersey.
His preferred medium, oil painting, is used as a tool of complex research and creation. Using black and white exclusively, he imitates the effect of grisaille with a precision that leads to graphic illusions, frequently resembling black and white photographs. Bastidas achieves a meticulous level of detail in his paintings, produced only by these two colors and their nuances, without needing support from other palettes.
His work focuses on distressing themes of our modern world: global warming, technology and progress affecting society and the environment. Even so, his grisaille paintings have elements of humor that remove some of the seriousness from the subject matter and present hope. Reality and fantasy coexist to form a connection between a real event or disaster and an imagined fiction.
In his compositions we see recurrent subjects that build a very personal and persuasive visual language, such as architecture, water, vegetation and even references to art history. Architecture serves as scenery for both real and fictional stages, sometimes used in reference to natural disasters, other times as a metaphor for human society. Water and nature portray those disasters providing interesting aesthetic effects, while art history subjects connect with world history.
Bastidas is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship as well as a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, among other awards. He exhibits widely in the United Sates and is represented in the collection of numerous museums.